POV

by Gregg
(Geogia)

Question: This question has really been bumming me out and slowing me down even though it may be quite simple. When you're writing in first person but there's a scene (where that character is narrating the story) where you choose to have him/her unconscious how do portray that scene? It's vital what's happening be told in that instance. Should I change pov to whoever is there for that chapter or stay away from that or change pov's all together?


Answer: Is there a way for the main character to find out later what happened while he/she was unconscious, or to figure it out on her own? Sometimes less is more, and sometimes a little mystery is valuable. (I suggest you try writing it and see how you feel about the result.)

There are no rules about this, only issues to consider.

For instance, while you certainly could switch to a different point of view for this one event, you have to consider whether it may be a little jarring to the reader, especially if you have no other reason for introducing a new POV character. If you want to develop a second POV and can see that it would add to the story -- perhaps return to it periodically -- that's a different matter.

If the second POV character appears throughout the book (seen through the main character's eyes), and you feel it would help the story if the reader knew what was going on in the second character's mind, this could be an opportunity to fill in a gap.

You also have to consider if dramatic irony would help the story. If the reader learns what happens but the main character never does, how does that change the story? Does it increase or decrease the emotional tension? Does it weaken the reader's ability to identify with the main character?

Again, you might try writing it both ways and see which version is more effective.

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